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Please beta test my game!


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#1 xDan   Members   -  Reputation: 191

Posted 14 January 2011 - 06:29 AM

Hello!

Please beta test my game, "Puzzle Moppet". It's a kind of block pushing puzzle game.
Available for Windows and Linux!

Posted Image

Looky here: http://garnetgames.com

Or just use the direct download links-
http://download.garn...MoppetTrial.exe
http://download.garn...petTrial.tar.gz

Features:
- 18 levels
- several block types... crates, elevators, ice blocks, exploding blocks, balloons...
- puzzles ranging in difficulty from stupidly easy to rather hard

Any feedback at all is much appreciated, although feature and gameplay wise I probably won't change much at this late stage. Any bug reports are especially appreciated (you can find the game's log files in the executable directory). If shaders don't work you can turn them off with the config app.

Also any opinions on the level difficulty curve would be interesting. It's a hard thing for me to judge since all levels are etched into my brain!

(and is the game at all fun or worth playing!?)

Thanks!

Sponsor:

#2 scgames   Members   -  Reputation: 1969

Posted 14 January 2011 - 12:50 PM

Tried it - everything worked fine :) Here's my feedback (some of this stuff might seem picky, but I'm assuming the more feedback the better...).

First, a few things I thought could be improved:

- Starting in fullscreen doesn't make for the best user experience, IMO. I'd start in windowed mode, and then allow the player to switch to fullscreen if they like. (Or maybe start with a 'select video mode' screen the first time the game is launched.)
- There didn't seem to be any way to click through the intro. This is just my opinion, but my own feeling is that a game should generally be 'responsive' in some way at all times so that the user is always in control to some degree or another (although I'm sure it'd be easy to find a lot of games that went against that). As for how to address it, you could just have a 'press any key to skip' message, for example.
- It'd be nice if you could restart a level without opening the in-game menu. (Maybe there's a keyboard shortcut for this, but I didn't see a list of controls anywhere.)
- IMO, the game could use more polish. (I can provide specifics if needed, but basically I'm just talking about the usual stuff like configurable controls, menus, etc. If that stuff was there and I missed it, my apologies. Oh, and I did see the configuration app, but IMO those settings should be available via in-game menus.)
- The price seems a little high (although if it were a little more polished, I'd happily pay about half that for the game).

And lastly, my biggest complaint: the 'you are playing the trial version' message that pops up periodically. I know you have to limit the trial version somehow, but IMO that's not a good way to do it, and just speaking for myself, I wouldn't buy a game that used that method just on general principle. Other options of course would be to provide a limited number of levels or a limited amount of total play time, either of which would be much, much better than the pop-up message.

Note however that this is only my opinion. Others may feel differently about it.

Everything else is positive. The gameplay is easy to understand, the control scheme is fluid and intuitive, and the puzzles seem just about right difficulty-wise. And yes, it's definitely 'fun and worth playing' :) If some of the above issues were addressed, it's definitely a game I'd consider buying.

You stated that you probably wouldn't change anything feature- and gameplay-wise. I certainly wouldn't make any changes to the gameplay. I'm not sure what 'features' encompasses, but if making changes of any sort is still an option, I'd spend a little more time on the development and try to polish things up a bit if I were you. Although we all like to believe that gameplay is of primary importance, the fact is, people do respond to things like usability, presentation, 'principle of least surprise', and those sorts of things. If the game itself were only so-so, I probably wouldn't bother saying any of these things. But since the game itself is very high quality, I think you could really benefit from bringing the rest of the game up to the same standards (and would probably sell a lot more copies also, I would guess).

Again though, the above is all just my opinion. In any case, congrats on a great game, and best of luck with it.

#3 xDan   Members   -  Reputation: 191

Posted 14 January 2011 - 04:41 PM

Thanks for the great feedback jyk! The more the better, indeed :)

Regarding polish, certainly most games have all fancy menus, profile systems.. I've just been taking so long over this game that I need to cut it down and try and sell *something*. Maybe I'm just a very slow coder, but I can imagine doing all those sort of things could take me several more months. I'm already at 14 months when I intended to finish the game in 6!

So I may well try to sell it without doing much more on it. Perhaps I'll do a low profile launch in a few discreet parts of the internet and see what the reception is.

Price, yes I must adjust that. I read somewhere someone advised setting the price quite high to start with to sell to the people that really want the game, then reducing it over time. $25 (plus extra tax in some places) definitely does seem a little high to me too though, with other (and better!) indie games around the $15-$20 mark. I'll probably play around adjusting the price and see how it effects any sales.

You can hit delete to restart the level at any time. I guess I need some control instructions somewhere. (there is a readme in the bin directory but certainly not many people will see that. Maybe I can open the readme after install, along with running the app in windowed mode...).

I'll consider the trial nag message. Maybe if I just make it less frequent? Like only on the start of a new level, but not on subsequent restarts? Already it only starts to appear after a few levels have been completed, maybe I can increase that time as well. I have heard people claiming that nagging increased their sales...

#4 scgames   Members   -  Reputation: 1969

Posted 14 January 2011 - 05:09 PM

Regarding polish, certainly most games have all fancy menus, profile systems.. I've just been taking so long over this game that I need to cut it down and try and sell *something*. Maybe I'm just a very slow coder, but I can imagine doing all those sort of things could take me several more months. I'm already at 14 months when I intended to finish the game in 6!

I certainly understand that :) The only reason I'm suggesting it though is that I think the game itself is good enough that it could really benefit from a full-on, production-quality treatment, and that giving it such a treatment might open up the market somewhat.

But, I certainly understand the time issue.

I'll consider the trial nag message. Maybe if I just make it less frequent? Like only on the start of a new level, but not on subsequent restarts? Already it only starts to appear after a few levels have been completed, maybe I can increase that time as well. I have heard people claiming that nagging increased their sales...

Yeah, like I said, it's just my personal opinion. (I haven't seen that particular method used in too many games myself, but maybe it's more common than I realize.)

In any case, excellent work.

#5 xDan   Members   -  Reputation: 191

Posted 15 January 2011 - 05:37 PM

If it totally fails I'll probably rework it a bit. With the basic engine sorted making a better sequel wouldn't be too impossible either... Well, we shall see! :)

(anyone else have an opinion? ;) )

#6 xDan   Members   -  Reputation: 191

Posted 14 February 2011 - 12:29 PM

Just a little update: now has a basic menu system, with level select:

Posted Image

http://garnetgames.com/puzzlemoppet/

#7 Splinter of Chaos   Members   -  Reputation: 239

Posted 16 February 2011 - 03:35 PM

Thank you for developing for Linux! There just isn't enough Linux support in games. This type of puzzle game isn't really my thing, but it seems decent if you like the genre. Since i don't, here's some more critical feedback on the non-genre aspects.


I found the constant ambient noise annoying. You have very organic sounds, but the environments themselves look very dull, unlike the sound that describes them. Sure, it's colorful and pretty, but there's no motion, nothing that FEELS organic or alive. The grass looks OK, but only from above.

There doesn't feel to be any physical connection between the character moving and a block being pushed. It might help if you had to press a button to make the block move, so you don't do anything accidentally, but maybe that's part of your design. Any sort of animation would help here--doesn't have to be complex. Just giving the player a little resistance force, for example, would make me feel better about it.

I'm not saying i think square movement would improve the game, but 360 degree movement feels awkward when trying to walk on square tiles. The 360-motion goes along with the organic sounds, but the environment's square-ness contrasts that.

#8 TSlappy   Members   -  Reputation: 121

Posted 17 February 2011 - 02:53 AM

I played you game for a while - it is not a bad, but it is "grey mouse" - there are thousands of similar games ....

You should make it more user friendly and attractive for gamers!
I started the game - there is no tutorial, I did not know how to control the game.
There are no options in game for graphics, gameplay, etc
Do I need to see an Intro every-time I start the game?

Keep up the work and polish the game.

#9 xDan   Members   -  Reputation: 191

Posted 17 February 2011 - 02:03 PM

the environments themselves look very dull, unlike the sound that describes them. Sure, it's colorful and pretty, but there's no motion, nothing that FEELS organic or alive


I'm not sure what a remedy for that would be. Maybe some swaying 3D grass or something? Bunnies hopping around!?

there is no tutorial, I did not know how to control the game.


Hmm, I hoped it could just be intuitive and not require a tutorial, since it uses just cursor keys and mouse. But maybe the problem is a user is left wondering if there are more controls than just those they have discovered? Would a simple overlay with key controls (shown only on the first level) be enough do you think?

There are no options in game for graphics, gameplay, etc


I will add graphics settings like are in the separate config app, maybe to disable ambient sfx, but what other options could there be? I'm not sure what gameplay options would entail.

Do I need to see an Intro every-time I start the game?


It should save after the first level, and then when you next run it should continue from your last level. Did this not happen for you? Did it not save at all?

I'm really keen to get all ideas for what this elusive "polish" entails - quite a few people have said it needs polishing... but it's often hard to find out exactly what they mean, and I don't seem to have a great grasp of it myself.

I'm going to add a "push" animation when the player pushes a block, maybe that can go some way towards feedback.

It's difficult to know what to do about the 360 degree movement issue. It's an odd thing having free movement in a grid based world, probably it was a mistake to attempt it. It was really born from two probably opposing things: my desire to make a full 3D third person game and my limited artistic talent/budget (since a game with repeated tiles obviously requires less artwork).

You really need a free, not fixed, camera to look around the world and to see all of the puzzles (since there are overhangs), and I'm not sure grid based movement really works with a free camera.

#10 XXChester   Members   -  Reputation: 816

Posted 17 February 2011 - 02:22 PM

Hello fellow Irrlicht user, I remember playing your game a couple months ago whilst it was in development from Irrlicht's website. Great to see you have completed the project. I agree with a lot of the above comments.

Keep up the good work!

Remember to mark someones post as helpful if you found it so.

http://www.BrandonMcCulligh.ca


#11 SriLumpa   Members   -  Reputation: 198

Posted 17 February 2011 - 04:20 PM

Thanks for the Linux version !
I get a crash, though:

> ./config.linux 
Changing directory to .
Litha Game Engine
Logging to ./Configuration.log
Settings path: /home/blarg/.Configuration/Configuration.ini
Arg: ./config.linux
Irrlicht says: Irrlicht Engine version 1.6.1
Irrlicht says: Linux 2.6.32-3-amd64 #1 SMP Wed Feb 24 18:07:42 UTC 2010 x86_64
Irrlicht says: Using plain X visual
Inconsistency detected by ld.so: dl-open.c: 643: _dl_open: Assertion `_dl_debug_initialize (0, args.nsid)->r_state == RT_CONSISTENT' failed!

This may be because I'm running 64bit, and not doing things properly.
Not the most interesting kind of feedback, but it's nice when it "just works" (I know it can be hard with Linux).

By the way, I think ".Configuration" in the home directory is a bit too generic (there can be tons of stuff in there, so it's better when they have names you can relate to something when you want to cleanup).

#12 xDan   Members   -  Reputation: 191

Posted 17 February 2011 - 04:55 PM

Hello XXChester, thanks :) Funny, looking at your profile we have the exact same day and date of birth...

SriLumpa, thanks for the report. I don't have access to a 64 bit linux machine, and so haven't tested it so that may well be the problem. This is something I'll have to look into, I haven't before considered the differences.

I'll change the .Configuration name, good point!

#13 xDan   Members   -  Reputation: 191

Posted 16 March 2011 - 04:57 AM

Another small update :)

- tutorial across the first few levels
- undo function! (also saves just before you fall off the world)
- level ratings (can you get a "Perfect" score hmm?)
- other minor things: optimisations, more character animations...

Posted Image

Windows: PuzzleMoppetTrial.exe
Linux: PuzzleMoppetTrial.tar.gz

There's still some more things I'm going to add, maybe options menu and some other fixes, it's not quite finished yet...

#14 owl   Banned   -  Reputation: 364

Posted 16 March 2011 - 05:27 AM

Well done! The game is fun!

The only things I could say is that it needs some music, some sort of lonely pseudo-depressing tune would do wonders along with the wind sound.
The intro goes too slow. Events should happen 1 or 2 seconds one after another.

Other than that. Good Work!
I like the Walrus best.

#15 xDan   Members   -  Reputation: 191

Posted 17 March 2011 - 01:18 PM

Thanks :-)

yeah, I've been looking for some music like that but can't seem to find any royalty free stuff that fits... all stuff I can find is a bit too "epic" if you get what I mean... I need something sedate, somewhere between ambiance and music...

#16 owl   Banned   -  Reputation: 364

Posted 17 March 2011 - 01:42 PM

The Deus-Ex Soundtrack has quite a few ambient pseudo-depressing tunes on the line of what I think your game could use. I think it wouldn't be too difficult to come up with something like that with some of those free synthe that are around.
I like the Walrus best.

#17 nemebean   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 17 March 2011 - 01:43 PM

I got music from musicloops.com.  It's not free, but it is royalty-free and it wasn't terribly expensive (I think I paid less than $50 for my track and all of the remixes the author had done).  There's also an enormous variety of music from what I've seen and I found multiple tracks that would have worked for my game. I haven't explored all of the categories though so maybe I was just lucky and they had a lot of what I was looking for.

#18 SriLumpa   Members   -  Reputation: 198

Posted 17 March 2011 - 03:58 PM

Thanks again for the Linux version.
I don't know if it is because I upgraded my system, or you changed your distribution, but now it "just works" here.

My remarks (other than that, it's a very nice game):
- Like someone said, the background noise is annoying
- The first level where you are on your own was, for me, a bit hard. And much harder than the next ones (in the trial) where new fun mechanism are usable. This could make a few potential users abandon the game
- It would be nice to be able to make the score display at the end "accelerable" by the user (like dialogs in console Japanese rpgs for example)
- The camera that repositions itself when you respawn is confusing
- If the level rating calculation is not too complicated, and you don't want to keep mystery about it, I would find it good to see what I could have done to get a better rating
- At the end I am sent to a "buy" page but it seems this is not available yet, and the price is not shown (maybe you haven't decided yet)

#19 xDan   Members   -  Reputation: 191

Posted 17 March 2011 - 04:27 PM

Thanks guys :) I love the Deus Ex sound track, certainly something like that. I'm looking through musicloops right now. I have been through some stuff there before, but there's such a lot, it's hard sifting through it all.

@SriLumpa,

eeek, thanks for reporting the website thing, I think a recent update broke something... anyway I've fixed that page and it's showing now.

> The camera that repositions itself when you respawn is confusing
hmm.. I could save the camera angle the player had at the time the state is saved. Or alternatively use the angle the player had before hitting undo...

> I would find it good to see what I could have done to get a better rating
the rating is simply the sum of all pushes/elevator moves, undos and deaths. A lower total being better.
Maybe I could have the total sum displayed... and e.g. "Complete in a total of X or less for a perfect score"... (or instead of "perfect", state the amount needed to go one better rating than that the player achieved..)

I agree with all your other points too, I'll look into fixing them. The ".Configuration" thing from before is still sitting on my TODO list as well... Thanks again :)

#20 nemebean   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 17 March 2011 - 05:10 PM

I'm looking through musicloops right now. I have been through some stuff there before, but there's such a lot, it's hard sifting through it all.

Yeah, I spent a lot of time listening to samples before I found the ones I liked, but I find music in games to be very important so it was worth it to me. One piece of advice I'll give you is that if you find a song that's close but not quite what you want, check if the composer has done anything else. That's ultimately how I found the track I used, and it can narrow down your options pretty effectively.




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